THE ALPHA’S GAMBLE
Mismatched Mates #10
by Eliot Grayson
Cover & Excerpt Reveal
Release Date: January 26, 2023
Fiona Jayde Media
Genre: M/M Paranormal Fantasy Romance
Trope: Enemies to lovers, werewolves, family saga
Cut off from his family—and more importantly, the family fortune—Blake Castelli stakes his future on one last throw of the dice: he’ll go to Las Vegas and use his line of credit at the Morrigan casino to replenish his bank account.
But the Morrigan’s under new ownership. And while Blake doesn’t remember handsome, arrogant Declan MacKenna from their ill-fated encounter ten years ago, Declan remembers him. And he wants payback.
Declan offers Blake a humiliating, degrading deal he has no choice but to take even though it’s all kinds of wrong. While Blake may be an alpha werewolf, so is Declan—and he out-alphas Blake at every turn. Blake shouldn’t enjoy what Declan does to him. He shouldn’t crave things no alpha should ever accept. Declan’s turned him into someone he doesn’t recognize: helpless, needy, and out of control.
Declan wants to keep hating Blake, but he can’t. Blake wants to trust Declan, but that’s impossible. When magical and mundane attacks threaten them both, Blake has nowhere to turn. Will Declan realize his feelings run deeper than desire in time to save them both? If not, they could lose everything…even their lives.
The Alpha’s Gamble is part of the Mismatched Mates series, but it can be read as a standalone. Contains blackmail, knotting, and intrigue, plus a side dish of biting. This series does not contain mpreg.
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I felt his presence, a flutter in the edges of my magical senses and a rich, dark scent in the air. MacKenna stepped out of a doorway off to the left, a glass of what looked like whiskey in his hand and an unpleasant smile twisting the corners of his lips.
He’d lost the jacket and tie, and rolled up his shirt sleeves to show a pair of muscular forearms with tattoos all over them under the brown hair.
My eyebrows went up. It took effort, expense, and magic to successfully tattoo a werewolf whose body was primed to reject anything it perceived as unhealthy. I’d never gotten any tattoos, knowing my father thought they made people look like lowlifes. But they’d always fascinated me. And they didn’t seem to go along with the casino-owner-in-an-expensive-suit image. He had a past, maybe.
And he’d made a couple of remarks about my wealthy family background. A heavy, sinking sensation took over the pit of my stomach. If he had a past, if he had overextended himself buying this place, then…my attitude toward money, my past, would only make this worse.
“Take a picture,” he drawled. “It’ll last longer. Except that my people confiscated your phone, I assume?”
As a matter of fact…
“Yes, and they haven’t given it back. Or my watch. That’s Cartier. And you have the nerve to tell me I owe you money!”
His grin widened, and he took a swig from his drink and sauntered into the room, disposing himself in the corner of the nearest sofa. Taking his fucking time, while I seethed and stood there like a schoolboy called to the headmaster’s office.
My every limb trembled with the urge to launch myself at him, claws and fangs out, and draw blood. Claw out his eyes, slash across his stomach, crimson splattering the black leather of the sofa and marring the perfection of that creamy carpet.
“I saw your watch,” he said at last. “Next time invest a little more if you want something you can pawn later. That’d barely cover your bottle service from last night.” Another swig. “I reviewed your bill. You drink like a teenager.” A shrug. “A rich teenager. But I might be a little more sympathetic if you’d spent that much on Scotch instead of glow-in-the-dark vodka cocktails.”
“I wasn’t spending anything,” I protested, furious. Invest a little more? What a hypocrite. He was the one living three floors from the top of his own casino! “It was a line of credit—”
“Exactly, you were spending my money, not yours!” He only raised his voice a little, but his eyes flashed and he bared his fangs and he—gods, the crashing wave of alpha rage and pheromones, almost a tangible thing in the air, and it hit me like a blow to the face.
I reeled back, stumbling a step before I righted myself, my whole body going hot.
I was an alpha. The strongest. The best. A Castelli. Except that I’d always had the impenetrable armor of a prominent pack, an endless bank account, more credit cards, my father’s name and reputation.
And now I only had myself. No phone, no watch, no wallet. No one who’d take my call anyway.
His voice, smooth and deep again without a hint of emotion, cut through my confusion and whirling despair. “And now we’re going to talk about how you will repay me, and the Morrigan, for the bar tab. And the suite. And the gambling losses. And by the way, you’re shit at counting cards, if that’s what you were really do—”
“I’m great at counting cards,” I snarled, pushed beyond my limit at last. “And fuck you for—”
“I’m one more outburst from handing you over to the cops after all, Castelli. Watch your fucking mouth.”
The absolute, imperative alpha command in his deep voice withered the words on my tongue and struck me completely, horribly, obediently silent.
As if I hadn’t been an alpha at all.
I’d never been so ashamed in my life—and my family had really done their best to set the bar high.
MacKenna drained the last of his drink and set it down on the table with a clunk, leaning back into the sofa at his ease, knees spread in the universal posture of a man in command of the situation.
Those tailored trousers didn’t have enough fabric to hide the bulge in the front of them.
He was half hard, it looked like.
A totally new type of shudder made my spine do a tango.
MacKenna was getting off on humiliating me. On having me in the palm of his hand.
And I could scent his arousal as well as see it, now that I was paying attention to it. Was that why my body was starting to go haywire? Another alpha’s powerful sexual pheromones wrapping around me, seeping into my body and my magic.
Making me react. Because my own cock had thickened. Not hard, not yet, but interested. Responsive.
Subjugated to his stronger shifter magic.
“Good,” he said, startling me out of my horrified realization of the situation I’d gotten myself into. “I don’t give a toss about your abilities or lack thereof when it comes to blackjack. I do care about your debt. And it doesn’t matter how many watches you sell, or phone calls you make begging your family to pay me off. You’re a criminal, I can prove it, and if you want to get out of that? Well, you’ll be paying that off, too. Call it a moral debt, if you like.”
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About the Author
I’m an editor by day and a romance writer by night, at least on a good day. I’m more of a procrastinator by day and despairing eater of chocolate by night when inspiration doesn’t flow and my day-job clients are driving me to insanity. Go ahead and guess which of these is more common.
My steady childhood diet of pulp science fiction, classic tales of adventure, and romance novels surreptitiously borrowed from my grandmother eventually led me to writing; I picked up my first M/M romance a few years ago and I’ve been enjoying the genre as a reader and an author ever since.
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